Leaving Certificate Subjects

English, Irish and Maths are compulsory, so it’s really important to research the subjects you are considering for the Leaving Certificate.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (www.ncca.ie) is a good starting point to find the full range of subjects for Senior Cycle. In this booklet  you will find a range of subjects for Senior Cycle and get an opportunity to evaluate the subjects you are considering. If a student has a particular career or college course in mind they should make sure they understand the subject requirements of that career or course now.  It is too late in sixth year deciding to be a primary school teacher without having taken Higher Course Irish  from fifth  year, or wishing to apply to the National University of Ireland  which require three languages for most courses, or wishing to go to Dundalk I.T. without passing English and Maths at least at ordinary  level.  Colleges and courses have various requirements and research is needed in third and transition year to make sure your desired options are available to you in sixth year.

The following websites are useful:

ScoilNet         www.scoilnet.ie

Why study a language www.languagesconnect.ie 

Qualifax                                                           www.qualifax.ie 

UCAS U.K College Applications                      www.ucas.com 

CAO                                                                    www.cao.ie 

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment www.ncca.ie 

Careers Ireland                                                         www.careersireland.net 

Careersportal                                                           www.careerportal.com 

French                                                                     www.french.ie 

German                                                                   www.goethe-verlag.com 

Business                                                                  www.economicseducation.eu 

Science                                                                    www.science.ie 

Technology                                                             www.iteawww.org 

Geography                                                              www.geography.ie 

History                                                                www.nationalarchives.ie 

Art                                                                           www.irishartsreview.ie 

Music                                                                      www.cmc.ie 

Home Economics                                                    www.safefood.eu 

  Tips for  choosing Leaving Certificate subjects

  • Talk to students in senior cycle and listen to their experience.  Maybe you have an older sister or brother who is studying the same subject. 
  • The most professional person to speak with is the teacher of the subject – listen to the facts, hear how they promote and show an interest in their subject. It’s really important to get a glance at the textbooks that you will be using.  Choose subjects you like, not the subject that your friends would like you to do.
  • Reflect on your CAT test performance as they indicated your strengths in the following areas; verbal or numerical reasoning, spatial awareness, mechanical reasoning. Strengths in these areas will point you in the direction of career areas that could compliment your ability. It is also important to look at how you did in the Interest assessments.  This can be very enlightening for students. Through answering a series of preference questions interest assessments can reveal a lot about your work preferences.  You can repeat the interest assessments free of charge with Careers Portal and Qualifax.
  • Research college courses and colleges that you have an interest in that will lead you on your choice of career pathway and ensure that when you make your CAO application you are not caught out because you did not study a particular subject for the Leaving Certificate. Many students will study a third language which is recommended as it is a matriculation for the vast majority of courses in the National University of Ireland. Some students will decide on a science subject to keep their options open, this is important if you are considering science, pharmacy, veterinary science, nursing, human nutrition and dietetics,  engineering or medicine as a possible career. It is recommended that students  also consider subjects that offer coursework and projects where they can achieve a grade mark before sitting the Leaving Certificate, e.g. home economics, art, LCVP, history, geography, music. 

Author: Francis O' Toole

Francis O' Toole is a Educational Psychotherapist & Guidance Counsellor. I set up this blog page to help students gain as much information as possible to be able to make right choices and decisions regarding their career options. I believe that we will be very successful in our careers if we follow what we enjoy.

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